It’s a brave restaurant who steps into Kricket’s shoes let me tell you. I had one of the my best meal’s of 2016 in their Indian-small-plate-serving pop up in a shipping container in Pop Brixton. But then they went and got themselves a proper restaurant in Piccadilly. Sad times.
So who’s in said shipping container now? Two chaps called Aaron and Remi with their small-plate-with-British-ingredients-using-ancient-techniques restaurant Smoke & Salt.
It’s still very much shipping containery but as the weather isn’t too bad we sit on one of the two tables outside. Inside, it’s counter dining facing the wall or a few tables of two with an open kitchen at the end. They take bookings which is a great thing.
Fried yellow plantain (Â£7), something you donâ€™t see a lot of on menus, is lovely. It comes with chicken hearts skewered on a twig of rosemary below beer-braised onions perfumed with oregano. Itâ€™s a combination of flavours most marvellous.
Heritage tomatoes (Â£5) are soft and sweet – you couldnâ€™t get more of a taste of summer. I love burrata/mozzarella as much as you do but here, the tommies come with smoked ricotta which is a refreshing and altogether brilliant alternative to the expected.
Cured trout (Â£9), from Chalkstream Farm, is a gorgeous looking thing. The jalapeÃ±o salsa is fierce and fiery; perfect for the fatty fish. Trombetta courgettes (Â£6) have a decent blend of soggy innards and firm skin which is moreish. A seed and walnut crumble adds yet more texture.
Miso and honey glazed lamb belly (Â£10) is my fave dish. The belly on its own? Corr, far too fatty for anyone to really enjoy. Put it with the English pea tartare and pickled gooseberry dressing however and itâ€™s the most well balanced thing Iâ€™ve eaten all year. Such clever cooking.
Boneless chicken leg (Â£9) is sous vide then finished off on the grill. The result is ridiculously moist flesh and a skin so crisp it needs a steak knife. Grated carrot cuts through the fat like a goodâ€™en.
Crispy new potatoes (Â£7) are just that. Find me crisper potatoes in London and Iâ€™ll give you a fiver. They are draped in beef heart (optional) which is drenched in gorgonzola sauce. Incredible.
Dessert, just one, is Harvest Pudding (Â£5); a bowl of grilled Amarillo peaches, English strawberries and a sweet corn mousse. As with the dishes before it, a clever, clever blend of flavours and textures.
We ate nearly the entire menu and there wasnâ€™t one dud. Not one. The guys are really sweet too which always helps. Kricket went from shipping container to restaurant – I look forward to hearing the same for Smoke & Salt.
Would we go back? Yes.
We dined as guests of the restaurant